A phaphatha is a circular, flattened dumpling-like bread that originates from Botswana. The two breads are made with the same ingredients, the only difference between the two is the cooking method.
While dumplings are steamed or cooked in water (or a stew, yum) the phaphatha is dry cooked over a frying pan.
My husband and sons love the fact that they can do so much with them, the options for stuffing are endless, for any time of day too. Serve these with salmon and eggs in the morning or with peanut butter and jam for a quick breakfast. For lunch, these can transform into burgers, bunny chow, grilled cheese sandwiches, or served with stew or beans for dinner.
This is what makes phaphata “Botswana favourite traditional flatbread” all around the year, but especially in winter.
Here’s how you can make this versatile flat bread for your family.
Ingredients: Yields 12 phaphathas
Extra flour for kneading
1/2 a packet of yeast
About a cup or so of lukewarm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl. Add the sugar and salt.
- Gradually add water and combine with your hands to form a dough. Only add enough water to form the dough.
- Knead the dough for about 5 minutes untill it’s soft and pliable.
- Put aside in a bowl covered with a damp cloth, and leave the dough to rise for 30 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about half an inch thickness. Using a round object like a plastic cup or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles.
- Dust the phaphatha liberally on both sides and place in a flat pan on medium heat with enough space between them to allow for rising. The heat shouldn’t be too high or the phaphatha burns before it fully cooks on the inside
This bread is traditionally enjoyed at tea time and is served at patlo/magadi and other cultural gatherings. I’d recommend you perfect these to impress your in-laws and relatives.